Advice for someone struggling to progress?


I’ve been enjoying WaniKani so far since starting about six months ago.

BUT, I’ve been stuck on level 8 for aaaages. I’ve been wanting to clear the reviews before I take on more lessons. And I read somewhere early on that it’s wise not to have more than 100 in ‘apprentice’ otherwise the review numbers are unmanageable. I’ve been chipping away all month, and I find now that many older ones are shifting into burned and enlightened, which makes for heaps of reviews!

Am I just lazy? Do I need to spend more time? I find I get grumpy and confused if I do the reviews for more than about 20-30 minutes and then I get more wrong. Usually, I do two lots of WaniKani, one in the morning when I get to work for 20 mins or so, then again at night after tea for about the same time.

I’ve got a baby and a full-time job. Plus, I don’t really want to sit here for hours doing my Japanese every day.

Maybe that is what I need to do?

Advice appreciated!



Hello hello, welcome! I like your avatar. :robot:

If your Apprentice numbers remain high, it could mean that it’s taking new words some time to cement. I always found that I retained new items better if I hit the first few review points as closely as I could.

For new items, I made sure to always hit the +4 hour review point, and the +8 hour one after that. I would do lessons at 7 in the morning, hit that important first review moment around noon, and then go over them again during evening reviews at 20:00. Would an extra moment to review fit in your day? If not actual WK reviews, maybe glancing through the items you learned that day could help retain them a bit better.

I’m sure other people will have plenty of good advice to share, and I hope you’ll find a comfortable learning routine that gets you progress without being too strenuous.

Best of luck!


Thanks for your advice. Yes, I think an extra period could be useful – I often do take a few goes to get some of them correct. Then commonly, I’ll start getting the ‘weird’ ones where the reading is less straightforward wrong once or twice as they go into guru.


I’ve been doing WK for just a year now and I’m only at level 15 now :slight_smile:
It’s best to just slow down and do you reviews. If you are constantly getting things wrong, look up the vocab on google images, spend some time re reading the mnemonic over (or make your own up), don’t do any new items until you can get your apprentice pile to be sub 100. I’m curious about your reviews taking you 20-30 mins… How many do you get on average? I think the most amount of reviews i ever had to do at once was 74 a few months ago. Otherwise I get the odd punishment of +20 - 30 on an hour every now and then, but this takes me max 5 minutes.


Userscripts can help. I’ve been struggling with catching up due to being busy lately too but with the WK Anki Mode script I’m able to get through 100+ reviews in no time


Thanks, I sometimes have 100+ in a day and I might get through a bit more than 50 in a session.


I would focus on finishing all reviews once you start. It’s better to have little to no reviews before you head off to sleep at the end of the day.


I think what might be more important than whether to or not do more reviews or learn new items more often is to figure out what the end goal is :slight_smile: .

In the end WaniKani is a kanji learning tool. It’s 1 of N items which can help one learn the language, but requires a lot of patience and time investment in other learning resources in addition. If your goal is to learn Japanese to some degree of fluency and be able to do something with the language, Anki + the 2k deck might be more useful in general.


I know I’m pretty well known for long responses on these forums, but I’m kinda tired now, so I’ll try to stick to the basics even though I’m admittedly very flashcard-averse, so I can’t help with WK SRS specifics.

I’d slow down and focus on what I can’t seem to learn and ask myself how I can retain it better. Do you have any really strong memories? Is there anything they all share (association with strong emotions, vivid sensations etc)? Is there anything you’ve found helps you learn in general? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then see if you can apply that fo learning Japanese. Do you have trouble with visualisation? If you can’t do it at all, don’t worry: there are lots of people like that on these forums too. It’s just that my memory is very visual and imaginative in the sensory department, so I don’t think my experience would help you directly. But you can still try to make things interesting or whacky for yourself so they stick better.

That aside, I think a lot of us (myself included) find that meaningfulness and context help a lot, so you might want to do a little Japanese on the side in some other form like anime, dramas and songs. It’s a lot easier to remember an epic moment in a story or a vocal performance than a word or sentence you know nothing about. I also know that some people don’t like WK’s context sentences, so if you feel like you need better ones, try searching on sites like Jisho and (Yes, Japanese interface, but I promise you that you’ll see tons of translated examples the moment you use the search bar.) There’s also a ‘better context sentences’ userscript somewhere, I think. Try searching the forums.

I wish I had more potentially helpful ideas, but that’s all the general stuff I can think of for the moment. I’d give some visualisation- and etymology-specific advice, but because I don’t know if visualisation helps you, I don’t want to mention anything that might be useless for you. Either way, I wish you all the best, and welcome any questions.


Am I just lazy? Do I need to spend more time? I find I get grumpy and confused if I do the reviews for more than about 20-30 minutes and then I get more wrong.

No way. Definitely listen to your body and mind above everything else. Personally, I need to do things in short bursts or I start to get squirmy and stop remembering anything, and that’s a massive waste of time imo. There’s a point of diminishing returns and it helps to find where yours is. There’s a lot of good suggestions on here.

I think in the case of someone with a family and a full-time job, the best thing for us is to be consistent. 15 minutes of focused study every day is better than 3 hours cramming on the weekend (I think that’s true for people without families/jobs too). I personally find scheduling things in when my brain works best helps too. I like to study grammar in the morning and do WK reviews while watching TV at night, then read manga for 15 minutes before sleeping. It adds up a lot. I’m only level 46 after nearly 5 years using WK but my Japanese is more or less functional around junior high level comprehension so it’s obviously working. Good luck! It’s definitely a marathon. If you watch some Japanese children’s shows your kid might like watching them with you (stealthy study technique Lol).


You’re not lazy. I spent 60 days on level 12 because I had a big pile of lessons from previous levels that I didn’t do. Many days I didn’t my lessons because I had my hands full with reviews, I was behind with my college work and I had also started a part time job. But I finally made it through 2 days ago and look at me now, level 13. I took my time and after getting everything to 0 and my apprentices were low I moved on, now at a pace of 10 lessons a day, maybe more if it’s radicals since they’re easy.

My suggestion, stop your lessons, keep doing your reviews, even if you can’t finish them for the day, eventually they will slow down and you’ll be able to finish them. Once you have your apprentice low enough that you think you could do lessons again, do 5 or 10, just make sure what you pick is something you can do everyday without fail. You can even make your lesson batches anywhere from 3-10 so you could customize the amount you want to do without being stuck to intervals of 5. Once you have the amount you can do a day, all it means now is stick to that goal and you’ll progress at a steady rate again. You seem to be more busy than I am, my limit seems to be 10-15, so you might be better off doing less than that. If you can do more than 2 wanikani sessions a day that would be better, start trying for 3, you can even split it. Say you have 90 reviews a day, you currently do 45 in morning and 45 at night, instead do 30 in morning, 30 in evening, and 30 at night. This could help you catch newly done lessons like others said.


There may be something about level 8–I’m on 10 now and I took more than a month to get through level 8, the longest of any to date. Stick with it! I was doing the “do all the reviews before lessons” approach, but I think that made that level particularly take longer, to be honest. But I have burned zippo items after almost 6 months on WK, so take my advice with a grain of salt. :wink:

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